The unpredecented struggle of teachers during the pandemic
By Cristina Montes-Buquid
It is beyond reproach that the academic year of 2020/2021 was peculiar from any other school year. The blitz of the pandemic was inevitable making all the important sectors to cripple and scuffled to survive the negative effect of the pandemic.
From the point of view of economy, governance and of most importantly, the sectors of education, there is an impending need to resolve the ever adverse consequences specially the nationwide closures of the schools. There is nothing more agonizing than seeing one of the foundation of economy (education) being bitten piece by piece by the pandemic.
However, being true to the mandate and agenda of the government to provide quality education, we did not allow ourselves to be overrun by the aggressiveness of the said pandemic. We have the think tank or group of intellectual in the government who work together to produce new or novel policy in order to address the need to continue the education which was disrupted by the health crisis.
Since we are motivated by our desire to excel in education output such as producing graduates who will lead our economy and government in the future, stability in education must be the driving goal. The government during this period where able to mobilized their resources by providing bigger priority funds to the education through the emergency appropriations enacted by our congress just to cover the expenses for any programs and policy design to capture the effect of the pandemic.
Thus, they came up with a policy to reopen the school this time dispensing with the full time learning instruction of face-to-face and substituting it with a combination of in-person, hybrid and remote learning. Under this system, a combination of face to face classroom instruction with on-line activities was adapted. Also, the remote system which adapted the modular learning becomes another option. The design was primarily intended for the continuity of education without the health of the teachers, parents and pupils being compromise by the treat of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The struggle for the teachers who shall implement it is real and quite insurmountable because they will have to adapt to some unexpected conditions, teaching in extraordinary manner and using an instruction that allows the students to learn on their own schedule within a certain time frame or together at the same time in a particular classroom or online setting nonetheless, bearing in mind also the need to build connections with students and their families since it remains one of the objective.
This particular situation on the part of the teachers had created so much of the emotional distress resulting to some confusion in their teaching career. A survey was conducted and results found that some teachers manifested desire to leave their jobs at the end of the school year. They were in the level of topsy-turvy whether or not to work a full career in the classroom. Imagine the sacrifices of enduring an hour long or more of travel for a number of times in a week from the urban area to the far flung school just to deliver the module and retrieve the same on some other time.
Other than the constraint in time, the financial resources to cover their travel and other allowances also tighten up their purse. While parents are likewise committed if not encouraged to instead drop by at the school just to pick up the modules, they too have experienced the very same financial and time limitations as the teachers. Moreover, the routine added up to the parent’s usual and daily struggle to take care of the family such as the household chores and caring for their children.
The online system of delivering classroom instruction may have appeared to be more convenient as it forego with the physical aspect of classroom instruction. However, it has been plagued with problems because most students in the Philippines do not have a computer or internet at home. This is will surely entail additional expenses for the parents to buy a laptop or computer set for their children and an internet connectivity at home in order to put in operation the online system of education. We all know that we still live in poverty and to provide with this gadgets have never been a necessity for the marginal and underprivileged students.
Further, some teachers who shall give instructions through online education are not accustomed with the technology and operation. Thus, training on this will surely be an additional burden on them including the expenses to be incurred for their training just to gain familiarity and literacy with the computer. Again, this will pile up their stress and we cannot blame them for their confusion to their profession during the pandemic. In fact symptoms of anxiety and depression among the students and teachers increased during the said period and are more pronounced among the said individuals experiencing social isolation due to closure of schools. We all know that the schools had been a place and medium for interaction or socialization. It is healthy for all sorts of individuals to get associated with each other in the campus. It also increases the children’s emotional intelligence by being with the people and learned to manage the social consciousness they are living with and the school is one of the most important place for this to develop their social skills. To take that opportunity from them will greatly affect that behavioral process and eventually reduce their ability to communicate or to interact with the community and society.
Nevertheless, their heroic effort to cross the education dilemma never faded to most of the teachers. It may have brought difficulties but according to them, nothing will change for the love of the profession. Truly, their commitment to uphold their sworn duty to serve and educate in order to mold the students to become a better individual lives on and still on fire. This despite the threat of infection is real and imminent, as big sacrifices amongst the teachers will still prevail.